WASHINGTON — Days away from the expiration of the Small Business Administration’s programs and authorities, the House of Representatives recently approved a temporary extension.

The extension was granted Sept. 26 to give Congress more time to complete a comprehensive review and reauthorization of the agency, according to House Small Business Committee Chairman Don Manzullo (R-Ill.). H.R. 6159, authored by Manzullo, extends all the programs, including pilot programs, and authorities of SBA beyond the current expiration date of Sept. 30, 2006.

“This temporary extension is necessary to give us more time to complete a more comprehensive reauthorization of the SBA,” Manzullo said. “We are still working on a package that would improve the SBA’s response to catastrophic disasters and expand the reach of the SBA’s finance and entrepreneurship programs to more small businesses in America. We will also eliminate unnecessary programs at the SBA and combat waste, fraud and abuse by increasing fines for misuse of SBA programs.”

Manzullo said the extension is also needed because several SBA programs are not supported by direct appropriations, therefore, the general language in a Continuing Resolution does not provide the full legal authority for the agency to continue these programs, which include the 7(a), Certified Development Company and Small Business Investment Company programs.

In addition, H.R. 6159 would extend SBA’s authority to operate several smaller programs including grants to Small Business Development Centers to participate in the Drug-Free Workplace program, sustainability funding for Women Business Centers, pre-disaster mitigation pilot program, New Markets Venture Capital program and BusinessLinc. It would also extend SBA’s co-sponsorship and gift authority, which enable the agency to accept private donations to help put on events or print publications. –msamaad@cutimes.com